Part of the deal for me to be an official blogger at next week’s BVE2013 in London is for me to have at least two blog posts mentioning the event. This is the second. Given my recent popular post on how Apple defines itself I wondered whether TV and film post production companies are good at defining themselves clearly.


Can you get 17 out of 17?

Here are the definitions of some companies in the post production industry attending BVE2013 next week. I’ve removed the company and brand names, see if you can guess who is who. To see of you’re right, if you’re using a computer move your cursor over the ??s – if you wait a few seconds the missing name will appear, on devices without pointing devices, tap the ??s.


??????? creates the digital audio and video technology used to make the most listened to, most watched and most loved media in the world – from the most prestigious and award-winning feature films, music recordings, and television shows, to live concert tours and news broadcasts. Some of ???????’s most influential and pioneering solutions include BRAND1, BRAND2, BRAND3, BRAND4, BRAND5, BRAND6 and BRAND7.


An Emmy® Award-winning company whose products have defined the world of digital and broadcast graphics, ??????? offers leading graphics solutions including the BRAND1 online content creation software and order management system, on-air graphics systems, clip servers, channel branding, graphics asset management, graphics over IP, and second screen solutions.


??????? is the pioneer in networked shared storage and tapeless, end-to-end workflow solutions for the post-production, TV and film industries. Our products include BRAND1 video capture and playout servers, BRAND2 shared storage, BRAND3 backup software, BRAND4 media asset management, and BRAND5 – the world’s first three-platform (Windows/OS X/Linux) professional NLE application.


Whether it’s a smartphone or tablet app, a game, a video, a digital magazine, a website, or an online experience, chances are that it was touched by ??????? technology. Our tools and services enable our customers to create groundbreaking digital content, deploy it across media and devices, and then continually measure and optimize it based on user data. By providing complete solutions that combine digital media creation with data-driven marketing, we help businesses improve their communications, strengthen their brands, and ultimately achieve greater business success.


??????? creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.


??????? is a leading manufacturer of high-quality and cost-effective digital video interface, conversion and desktop solutions supporting the professional broadcast and post-production markets.


For more than 50 years, ??????? has been synonymous with innovation, leadership, and performance. With an eye to the future, we are committed to advancing our industry by being a strategic and trusted partner. Leveraging IP technology with our proprietary knowledge of media processing and storage, we develop product and service solutions that deliver unmatched interoperability and financial efficiency, and have the flexibility to change and grow as business evolves


??????? is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of professional broadcast, 3D, AV and CCTV products. ??????? is committed to providing high-quality professional video equipment to customers all over the world.


??????? “The oldest” camera manufacturer, will be showing their NEW Dockable 1.5/3G HD/SD low Cost Camera channel, as well as New POV cameras and a full range of HD/SD Monitors during this BVE 2013. We supply the European, Middle Eastern and African Market with products from three different business fields: Broadcast and Professional Video equipment, Medical Video equipment as well as CCTV solutions.


??????? Audio Video equipment offers the industry’s best-performing products which are used across the globe. Capable of operating faultlessly in a myriad of environments; from the dry and dusty Savannah to the freezing temperatures of the Antarctic, ???????’s range of HD studio cameras, convertible camera systems, Industrial Medical Vision cameras and energy-efficient LCD monitors provide an efficient, reliable and truly end-to-end solution for outstanding production quality.


Located in Munich, Germany, ??????? was founded in 1917 and is the largest manufacturer of professional motion picture equipment in the world. Throughout its 95-year history, ??????? has been associated with constant innovation and revolutionary technologies in all of its core businesses. The company is involved in all aspects of the film industry: engineering, design, manufacture, production, visual effects, postproduction, equipment rental, laboratory services and studio lighting solutions.


??????? have helped to create distinctive images in many famous movies, e.g. Skyfall, Life of Pi and have already received 3 Technical Academy Awards. Innovative products as the BRAND1 lenses and in BRAND2 deliver high image quality in a winning combination for HD video and offer great flexibility.


???????is well known as a manufacturer of Super Slo Mo cameras. The BRAND1 range of cameras are used within the broadcast industry, known for image quality, light sensitivity, reliability and ease of use. BRAND1 cameras for years have lead the way in high speed video applications within crash testing, and manufacturing, complimenting ???????’s broad range of Industrial testing and inspection equipment, where this product first came to market. The camera’s sheer performance proved it can hold it’s own within broadcast’s competitive, evolving market. See the new BRAND2 at stand B4.


??????? is a world-leading innovator and provider of imaging and information technology solutions for the home and office environments.


??????? manufacture and sell a variety of camera support systems and professional grip equipment at an affordable price. As one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of camera support systems the ?????? range is both extensive and diverse and at BVE many different products will be on display and available for demonstration. This includes Jibs, Cranes, Booms, Tracking Dollies, Camera Slider Systems, Stabilizers, Shoulder Mounts, Steadymounts, Remote Control Power Heads, Suction Mounts, plus a variety of Clamps and Mounting Brackets, Monitor Brackets and Video Accessories. There will be many special offers available with special show prices on many items.


??????? offers the most affordable and versatile line of camera stabilizers and related accessories available in the world today. Check out the many new and exciting products at this years show. We will show new handheld units including the BRAND1 for your IPhone, body mounted systems and the new BRAND2. We will also show the new BRAND3. The BRAND3 is a remote controlled pan-tilt head for small cameras up to 7 pounds.


??????? is recognized as the world’s innovator and premier provider of batteries, chargers, lighting and mobile power systems for the professional broadcast, video and film industries. Based in the United States with offices in Europe, Asia and South America, ??????? was established in 1970 and has expanded its product offerings to include many signature lines including the leading BRAND1 system, BRAND2 chargers and BRAND3 batteries. Our superior quality products have become an industry standard and are compatible with virtually every camera brand.

For free tickets to BVE 2013, click the banner:


Here are the answers in white – select to see who is who:
1 – Avid
2 – Chyron
3 – EditShare
4 – Adobe
5 – Blackmagic Design
6 – AJA
7 – Grass Valley
8 – JVC
9 – Ikegami
10 – Panasonic
11 – ARRI
12 – Carl Zeiss
13 – Olympus
14 – Canon
15 – Hague Camera Supports
16 – Glidecam
17 – Anton/Bauer


As I’m doing a huge favour to the organisers of Tuesday’s MacVideo Expo in London, they’re doing me a favour in return. If you email me with your name and company name, you can save the full £10 entry fee. There are three tickets left as of Monday morning.

MacVideo Expo 2010 logo

MacVideo Expo takes place at The Royal Society of Medicine, London W1 on Tuesday October 19. It is organised in the same way as a Final Cut Pro Supermeet: an exhibitor showcase, presentations and a giveaway of £10,000-worth of products to audience members. The £10 entry fee also includes a free buffet.

You don’t have to have a Mac to benefit from the event. The exhibition and show includes Panasonic’s AVCCAM range, Avid’s Media Composer 5, a 45-minute lighting demonstration from Dedo Weigert, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci colour correction products and Autodesk’s Smoke. You’ll also be able to make connections with UK editors, camerapeople and post-production experts.

The favour I’m doing the organisers? I’m appearing on stage in a panel – The great DSLR vs Video Camera debate.

If you have an idea for a plugin for Final Cut, find me during a break. I’d love to hear about it. I’ll tell you about my next free plugin too.

After Larry Jordan’s London show a few punters stayed at the bar. We wondered whether some of the attendees there might want to stay in touch. We could support each other using similar Q&A sessions as we had today. Digitally, as well as meeting up in pubs and bars. If you’re interested follow me on Twitter and send a message using #ukeditors as the hashtag.

If you aren’t on Twitter and find all the noise about it a little irritating, read my posts on Twitter – ‘anti’, ‘check it out without signing up’ and ‘why Twitter’ for my take on it.

If you are new to Twitter and looking for editors and post people to follow, check out the people posting using the #editingandpost tag. If their posts interest you, follow them.

In which I say why I can’t make NAB, but pass on a code ‘worth $150’ that their PR agency sent me.

Over the years I’ve watched the stories coming out of the NAB Show, and heard tales from those who visit. Sometimes I daydream about visiting – especially if I’m going to be in the US at the time. I’ll have to leave the reporting up to my friend Rick Young this time.

Given the nature of trade fairs these days, maybe NAB 2009 would be a good one to visit. If exhibiting and attending events like this starts to make less sense (ironically possibly because of some of the technology shown at NAB itself) in future, maybe you should catch one of these remnants of the 20th century in Las Vegas in April.

If I lived within four hours of Las Vegas, I would spend at least one day there.

Looks like I have enough pull with this blog for NAB’s PR company to send me a ‘a special registration code that you may pass along to your readers that will give them a FREE exhibits-only registration.’

So with that bit of full disclosure, if you want to save $150 (for access to the exhibition area and to the opening keynote), go to and quote Free Exhibits Passport Code: TP01 (that’s T P zero one).

PS: If you want to follow NAB on social networks, you can – although is typical of business not yet understanding the nature of Twitter. They should be using social media as a precursor for replacing much of what the trade show is…

Sometimes working on low-budget projects means leaving the initial edit to others. Researchers sometimes already have plans for the footage. Producers might not have the funds for all your editing time.

That means preparing the way for a paper edit. You send the footage to someone else who sends you back an initial edit as a document listing a series of timecodes indicating what footage goes where:
[01:47:22]-Mr. Thomas: "That's when we decided to extend the name of the club using the initials of the new members..." -[01:48:12] " to who the second 'A' was."
[02:12:01]-Mr. Yankson: "I thought it a demotion..." -[02:12:56] "...the Muddy Lawn."

They usually refer to hours minutes and seconds, because the specifics of frames don’t apply to paper edits.

How do they know what timecode to put in their documents?

The simplest option is to use QuickTime player. The time shown in the bottom-left of the window usually shows the number of minutes and seconds counted since the start of the movie:

If you move the mouse over this counter, it changes into a pop-up menu where you can choose to display the source timecode of the movie (the timecode used within Final Cut, Avid or Premiere):


If the person who is doing the paper edit refers to this time, you can use it within your editing software: “Use the third time the guard opens the cell door [from 36:28 until 36:42]”

If you are not sure of whether your collaborator will have access to QuickTime player, or if they require footage in another format, it is better to add timecode to the video itself:

This is known as a “timecode burn”.

The most straightforward way in Final Cut Pro is to use Andy Mees’ Timecode Generator plugin. Before you add it to your timeline, enter a value for duration at least as long as your timeline:

Download it from his page (by clicking the screenshot at the top of the page).

Another option is to use a separate application to add a timecode burn to your movies: QT Sync. It was originally created to fix QuickTime movies whose audio and video are out of sync. It has an option to add timecode to existing movies. This can be useful if a movie takes a long time to render, and you want a version without a timecode burn:

Yesterday, the Hollywood Reporter announced that Avid are researching ways to making their products work with 3D footage. I would characterise the kind of footage they mean as being ‘2.5D’ – two cameras shoot simultaneously from slightly different positions to simulate human stereoscopic vision.

The article refers to the ‘Over and under’ 3D technique. In the days of film, that meant that each frame of celluloid had two slightly different images – anamorphically squeezed so one appeared above the other. These days it probably means that each moment in time is represented by two pictures in a single file, i.e. at 01:04:25:16 in the media file there are two images – one for the left eye, one for the right.

Avid’s current plan is for editors to edit away in 2D – only displaying what one of the two ‘eyes’ would see in the scene. Every once in a while, they could choose a special command that lets them review the cut in 3D.

Editing 3D will only become mainstream once the price of the camera systems come down. The Fusion system uses two Sony F950s (so that’s over $230,000 just for the cameras). There is a system that 21st Century 3D have developed, but it isn’t for sale. They’re going the Panavision way and only making their technology available via hire – with mandatory employment of their staff to go along with the kit. They’ve taken a couple of Panasonic HVX100 SD cameras, synced them together, added 4:4:4 direct to storage recording and combined them in one 24lb package:
3D camera only available for hire from 21st Century 3D

Funnily enough, they also require that they are in on the editing of your production too. From their FAQ:

…there is more to the editing process than just matching all your cuts. It is also important to note that our 3DVX3 camera system records RAW CCD data that must be converted by 21st Century 3D in order to be edited in standard NLE software. 21st Century 3D does work with our clients who want to edit their own videos by providing 2D window dubs that you can edit. Send us your Final Cut Pro project file, an EDL or the window dub edit and we will conform your 3D show.

Can someone from 21st Century 3D come to my office and show me how to edit 3D videos?

Unfortunately no. 21st Century 3D utilizes techniques that are in some cases proprietary and have been developed over the course of years.

I suppose you could do it with multicam mode when editing, place the sequence in a 48p sequence to view in 3D using a fxplug scripted plug-in.

I’m surprised that companies such as 21st Century 3D think that it is possible to keep post-production secrets. I doesn’t sound like too much of a challenge to me, but maybe I haven’t thought it through. I wonder if the aesthetics of editing 3D can also be kept secret too. People thought that editing with the Cinemascope 1:2.35 required a new visual language.

21st Century 3D believe that the best results come from having a large depth of field. They want to give the audience the choice of what to focus on. I think that cinematographers and editors have spent the last 100 years using depth of field and focus to direct the audience’s view. We should have a good idea of which part of the frame they are looking at. That determines the timing of the next shot – we need to know how long it takes for the audience to notice the edit and then search the new shot to find the most interesting thing to look at before we let new information be conveyed (a person’s expression changes, a bomb starts ticking). If we still can use framing, composition, sound, a shallow depth of field and focus to direct the audience’s eyes, we may need to take account of how much longer it takes for people to find what we want them to look at if they are looking at 3D footage.

What else determines how we’ll be editing 3D footage?

Avid have finally done what many have suggested: simplify the range and reduce prices. Composer is now $2,495. Xpress is discontinued. $495 to upgrade to Media Composer. If I can work on Xpress at home and Composer on jobs, why would I want to upgrade?

This is Avid attempting to set the agenda for NAB. Will it be enough?

For you editors who go on location with two Macs – a backup and a main, I’ve discovered an interesting piece of software. It uses networking software that lets you use the screen of your backup computer as a second screen for your main computer. As it uses the network, I suggest that you use the backup machine to display browser windows – if there is a slight delay in displaying that sort of content, it is not a big deal. You should be able to drag clips between the screens if need be.

A G5 iMac using an old G4 iMac as an external screen.

Check out ScreenRecycler.

You can see a movie of the application in action at on this page.

You can even use a PC as a second monitor if you have one hanging around.

Apple have followed Avid in dropping out of NAB this year. Some see this as a sign that trade shows are becoming less important. The return on investment isn’t good enough. Maybe Apple has all the mindshare it needs from now on.

This reminds me of when I beta tested Macromedia Director for the Mac and PC back in the mid-nineties. Every new weeks we’d get a large envelope full of floppy discs. We would stress-test the scripting and animation features. I would attempt to get the user interface to break. It wasn’t hard. We got to know the software engineers quite well by email. We were shocked when the news came that the testing was over. Given the amount of bugs we knew about, we thought that there were many months to go before the software was ready. It turned out that the marketing department had picked a launch date and they wanted to stick to it.

Maybe Apple and Avid no longer want to have their schedules set by trade fairs. NAB is too soon for Final Cut Studio 3, it’s too late for a single user interface combined version of Avid’s various editors.

Maybe from now on we’ll hear about new products when they’re ready for us to use instead of at the next trade fair.

The BBC reported recently on its progress on removing tape from its post workflow. They believe in open source software, so if you want to use their Linux-based software for your tapeless production, download the sourcecode from SourceForge.

The software includes:

A Windows package that takes a Avid rendered show and wraps it in the correct flavour of MXF so that when put onto a P2 card can be output from SDI on your Panasonic P2 camera.

A Samba VFS module for Linux that allows teams of Final Cut and Avid users to share media on ‘low-cost commodity storage.’

The BBC report that they use the system on their highest rated evening soap: EastEnders (4 x 30 min a week), and plan to use it to digitise the million tapes in their archive.

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